Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Razorbill (2005)
I know, talk about a Scott Westerfeld obsession. What can I say? When I like an author, I support his/her work.
Cal Thompson is a peep (parasite-positive which is a nice way of saying vampire). He works for the Night Watch and is trying to track down his progenitor (and first!). Then he meets Lacey, who resides in the apartment building his maker used to inhabit. Cal, who became a peep through unprotected sex and is infected for life, of course falls in love with Lacey as he investigates the underground burrows of this building. When he finally comes face to face with his sire, he learns why he was infected and the parasite’s purpose.
A fun read but at times distracting (I’ll get to that in a bit), this book is the best social commentary on the dangers of unprotected sex I’ve ever read in my life. Who creates this world where you become a vampire from unprotected sex but instead of drinking blood (the vampire conventions we know of are immediately debunked in this piece), they feed on people (like cannibalism) and their kryptonite (so to speak) is an anathema which is an object that the uninfected used to love like say, Hanson, in which the newly infected will cower in fear. There are tons of quirky passages that make this book so likeable and entertaining.
As for the distracting parts, every other chapter is about a different type of disease or parasite (in Cal Thompson’s voice). Sometimes, these chapters which included tidbits and facts these parasites or diseases were informative and other times, downright intrusive. I get it; there are parasites on the planet but if it has nothing to do with the story, don’t tell me about it!
By the story’s end, I started skimming those chapters and then jumped back into the story.
Even though I did enjoy this tale of vampirism in New York City (oh how vivid setting was!), the ending was predictable and anticlimactic; I thought to myself, “All that and that’s it?”
This is a book I would suggest to another but with some reservations.